The courts are starting to lose their patience over Samsung and Apple’s patents, writes Pat Pilcher.
APPLE AND SAMSUNG are at it again. Their seemingly endless patent battles have flared up one more time, and both are off to the courts to slug it out in what is increasingly looking like an unwinnable and unending battle royale.
The stakes are high – both are vying for top dog status in the ultra-competitive, multi-billion dollar smartphone and tablet market, where even the smallest details can make or break sales.
Because US patent law moves at a near glacial pace, the new trial is bizarrely going to cover technologies from 2012 and earlier. The trial will also be presided over by District Court Judge, Lucy Koh in San Jose.
Koh is the same judge who ruled last year that Samsung owed Apple a whopping 1 billion dollars in damages for infringing patents on selected Apple devices. An appeal has been lodged, and given the high speed cutting edge pace of litigation in the US, it’ll probably be heard in 2280 when people are using something far more sophisticated than a smart phone to stay connected.
Apple are taking aim at Samsung’s flagship Galaxy range of handsets, phablets and tablets. Although both had tried out of court mediation at the behest of Koh, talks failed.
Koh is also understood to have given both companies just 25 hours to present their case to jurors. Hopefully this will help prevent the trial from becoming an overhyped media circus like their last courtroom stouch. The patents at stake are understood to be around unlocking touch-screens via gestures, auto-correcting typed words plus several other techie bits only likely to be of interest to engineers and overpaid patent lawyers.
Interestingly, the fact that auto correct is at best a curse for smartphone users seems to have completely been missed by both players, who really should know better as meme sites such like Damn You Autocorrect regularly parody smartphone bloopers.
If I were a shareholder in either company, I’d be totalling up the costs of these protracted patent battles and pondering just how many cutting edge innovations could have been developed with funds that were wasted on courtroom antics. Sadly, at the end of the day the only real winners appear to have been law firms.
Here’s a tip for both companies. Focus on creating cool handsets instead of feeding lawyers, and start playing nice. PAT PILCHER